College Station, Texas - Florida State fell to Southern California 2-0 in the national championship game of the 2007 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament closing out the most successful year in team history. The Seminoles appearing in their first national championship game in school history could not seem to find the back of the net as the Trojans held the nation's second leading scoring team without a goal for just the second time all season. Mami Yamaguchi and Kirsten van de Ven led the Seminoles with three shots a piece.
The Trojans scored a goal in each half while out shooting the Seminoles 18-11 in the game. Florida State held the corner kick advantage at 11-7, the second most corners taken by FSU this year.
With Florida State's appearance in today's championship game, the Seminoles became the third team from the state of Florida to play for the championship joining UCF (1982) and Florida (1998).
Junior Erika Sutton got off the first shot of the national championship game sailing a header high over the crossbar in the second minute of play. Becky Edwards took the free kick for the Seminoles following a foul by USC in the Seminole zone.
The Trojans answered with their first shot off their first corner kick of the game. Ashley Nick sent a shot wide right from six yards inside the box.
In the 15th minute, freshman Marissa Kazbour sent a cross into the box as Sanna Talonen came streaking in from the middle of the field. But USC keeper Kristin Olsen intercepted the pass before Talonen could get a touch on it.
Seconds later senior Kirsten van de Ven ripped a shot wide right from just outside the 18 yard line.
The Trojans took the first lead of the game on a header by Marihelen Tomer in the 25th minute. Stacey Strong sent a dangerous cross that went untouched for a few seconds bouncing around in the box. The ball finally went off a Seminole defender toward Erin McNulty in net. The ball tipped off her gloves, caromed off the crossbar and back into the playing field where Tomer was there for the header to give USC the 1-0 lead. The goal was Tomer's fifth of the season.
Less than a minute later, Southern Cal looked to add to its lead as Tomer found a seam and nailed a shot off the right post. The Seminole defense gathered the loose ball and cleared it out of the zone.
The Seminoles entered the locker room trailing for the first time in the NCAA Tournament and for just the third time this season. FSU found themselves down at the half earlier in the season against Florida and then in the ACC Championship game against North Carolina.
Freshman Rachel Lim got the first good look out of the locker room for the Seminoles blasting a shot from 17 yards in the 47th minute. Olsen just got a hand on the ball tipping it over the crossbar and out of play. Florida State earned back-to-back corners following the play but were unable to create any chances on goal.
In the 59th minute, Katrin Schmidt sent a long ball down the left side of the pitch where Mami Yamaguchi was able to run the ball down. The Tokyo, Japan native made a quick move towards the inside beating a Trojan defender and sending a cross into box. Talonen was there for the header but the ball bounced wide right of the goal.
Amy Rodriguez had a good look from inside the left corner in the 71st minute. The Trojan forward ripped a cross wide to the right keeping the score at 1-0. Just over two minutes later, Nick sent a shot on goal but McNulty was there with her third save of the game.
Following a second half media timeout, USC earned a corner kick leading to the second goal of the game. Ashli Sandoval bent a corner inside the box where Janessa Currier redirected the ball toward the near post. McNulty made a diving save but Currier was able to collect her own rebound and find the back of the net for a 2-0 Trojan lead. The two-goal deficit was the largest the Seminoles had faced all season.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the game, Florida State went a man down as senior Libby Gianeskis was issued a red card. Sandoval got behind the Seminole defense and went on breakaway down the middle of the field before she was taken down from behind from about 30 yards out.
The Seminoles miss fired on a couple scoring chances late in the game but just could not get the ball passed Olsen who was named the tournament's Defensive Most Outstanding Player.
Yamaguchi, Talonen and freshman Amanda DaCosta were all named to the Women's College Cup All-Tournament Team for their efforts during the postseason.
Florida State closes out the year with a record of 18-6-3 while appearing in the national championship game for the first time in school history.
Florida State Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Mark Krikorian:
"Well certainly we at Florida State have to congratulate USC on their outstanding performance today."
"I'm really proud of our team, I think they fought and tried and created some good opportunities, good chances different at times of the game."
"I can appreciate that some days and you're up and some days you're not, and it was not our day. A lot of that certainly goes to the quality of USC, the organization of the team-their individual talent as well."
"I'm proud of our team, I think we put a heck of an effort forth and we just weren't quite good enough today."
"I think they're very organized, well-coached, disciplined in their defending, they're strong and athletic, good offense as well, and behind the back line is a goalkeeper who's quite good. In order to break that down and to beat that defending you have to be really quick and we weren't quite sharp enough in the penalty box today."
"We didn't have as much success in finding the seams and certainly I think that their defending was quite good, I don't think our movement off the ball wasn't as good today."
Freshman Amanda DaCosta:
On problems in the game:
"Coach said for some reason our movement off the ball wasn't as sharp as it usually is, but I do think that our outside backs did a good job of trying to get the attack started."
Sophomore Becky Edwards:
On the two goals scored by USC:
"As Coach said, I think it was just a miscommunication maybe, out first goal comes off the crossbar goes up and gets a head in, I think we were in good shape it was just a miscommunication and I think the same thing on the second goal, you just a little precise in our defending."